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Gwinnett County Public Schools Gifted Program

What is the Gwinnett County Public Schools Gifted and Talented Program?

Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Gifted Programming provides students with accelerated and enriched academic curriculum experiences.

GCPS’ gifted program places an emphasis on five core areas:

  • AKS (Academic Knowledge & Skills) extensions
  • Advanced content
  • Research & Reference Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Metacognition/Cognitive Strategy Development

The program focuses on cultivating students’ thinking strategies and processes, enabling them to apply their knowledge to making informed decisions, thinking critically, and developing problem-solving skills.
Due to the unique nature of the elementary gifted resource program and the burden of an additional workload, they will often be excused from daily homework assignments given while attending classes.

The Gifted Program goes by different names at each age level: FOCUS in elementary school, PROBE in middle school, and QUEST in high school.

Further Information on the Gwinnett County Public Schools Gifted and Talented Programs

Gwinnett County Public Schools FOCUS Program

FOCUS offers extensions of the general curriculum through various program settings, including resource, magnetism, advanced content, and/or cluster classes. Complete curriculum topic listings available through local school gifted education programs. The leadership team at each school decides the appropriate setting for each school’s student body.

PROBE Program

The PROBE gifted program for middle school students provides advanced academic courses that extend and enrich the AKS. PROBE classes are offered in mathematics, science, social studies and language arts. Students are identified for advanced subjects on the basis of their demonstrated strengths.

QUEST Program

The QUEST program for high schoolers provides a variety of enrichment opportunities, including advanced content classes in math, science, social studies, language arts and foreign language. Students can participate in Advanced Placement (AP) classes in a variety of content areas, as well as in directed studies–an elective program designed for students interested in pursuing research in a specific content area. Students conduct research work under the supervision of the local school’s gifted program teacher.

QUEST also facilitates internships for gifted students. Students spend a portion of their school day with a community mentor to pursue in-depth career exploration, and gain insight into careers while developing real-world skills and self-awareness.

Students in the QUEST program can also take advantage of dual enrollment. While this program isn’t part of the gifted education curriculum, many gifted students use the opportunity to take courses at local technical schools, junior colleges, colleges and universities while enrolled in high school. Their earned credits are applied to both college and high school.

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Eligibility for the Gwinnett County Public Schools Gifted Programs

The process of entering the Gifted Program is comprised of 3 steps:

  • Referral
  • Evaluation
  • Eligibility

Students may be referred to the gifted program by teachers, parents, peers, the student his, her or themselves, or by qualifying through system-wide testing scores. Referrals may be submitted for any given student only once during grades K-2, once in grades 3-5, once in middle school and once during high school.

Schools evaluate students eligibility for the gifted program three times during the academic year, at the beginning, middle and end. Evaluations are conducted by each school’s local gifted referral team. Evaluations are conducted on the basis of mental aptitude, achievement, creativity, motivation, performance assessments, nationally. Normed group tests and survey checklists.

Finally, eligibility is assessed by a team including a local school administrator, a teacher, a counselor and/or the gifted program teacher, following State DOE guidelines in making their decision.

A student must meet the following qualifications to be placed in the Gifted Program:

  • Mental Ability : 96th percentile
  • Achievement: 90th percentile
  • Creativity: 90th percentile
  • Motivation: 90% (K-5) / 92% (6-12)

At the elementary level, students can be tested for gifted once between Grades K-2, and once between Grades 3-5. Additional testing may be done in middle and high school. An exception can be made if standardized test scores are high enough.

A student may qualify for the gifted program on the basis of one of the 2 following pathways:

Option 1: Students may qualify via the psychometric approach–that is, solely on the basis of mental ability and achievement assessment results.

The composite score must be at the 99th percentile for students in grades K-2. For students in grade 3-12, the composite score must be at the 96th percentile or higher. Students in grades K-12 must also meet at least one of the achievement standards: 90th percentile Total Reading, 90th percentile Total Math, 90th percentile total achievement test battery, or superior product/performance assessment. Students cannot qualify strictly on the basis of a mental ability test results.

Option 2: Students can qualify for the gifted program by meeting any three of the four criteria:, at least one of which on a nationally-normed standardized test.

The student may qualify by meeting the standards in any three of the four data categories, at least one of which must be on a nationally-normed standardized test:

  • Mental Ability tests: 96th percentile or higher on the verbal, quantitative, or composite score.
  • Achievement Tests: 90th percentile or higher on the total reading, total math, or composite score.
  • Creativity measure: 90th percentile or higher.
  • Motivation measure: 90th percentile or higher.

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